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Photo: Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock

Donald Trump released a video statement on Twitter Monday vowing that he'll "tax China to build up America" if he becomes president — but he would have no power to do so.

It's a twist on his often repeated lie as president that the Chinese treasury was paying his imposed duties on imported Chinese goods directly to the U.S. government. He again claimed in his video that China paid "hundreds of billions of dollars" to the U.S. because of his tariffs.

But such duties are paid by U.S. importers, such as giant retailers like Walmart and Target — not China. American importers must absorb the costs or pass them on to American consumers. Higher consumer costs during a Trump presidency would not be an effective inflation-fighting move.

"He still hasn't worked out who pays the tariffs," quipped one Twitter wag.

Trump's trade war with China cost Americans an additional $3 billion a month in higher prices in 2018, according to a 2019 study by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York and Princeton and Columbia University. “Overall ... we find that the full incidence of the tariff falls on domestic consumers," the analysis concluded.

“Any [import] cost increase puts us in a tough place,” Jennifer Lee, whose family owns the Footprint shoe store in San Francisco, told the Associated Press in 2019. “It makes it tough for business owners because we will have to take a hit on our margins, but it will also be difficult for us to pass it on to our shoppers."

Despite Trump's import duties on Chinese goods, America's trade deficit soared to its highest level since 2008 from the start of his presidency to its end, the Commerce Department reported in 2021.

Trump also vowed in his statement posted on Twitter that he would ban imports from China of all "essential goods" in four years, which he could do, though that again would likely significantly increase consumer costs without the competition from Chinese products.

Trump stated his aim in shutting down foreign imports is to protect American jobs, forgetting that it was largely the Republicans who gave corporations free rein to reduce manufacturing costs by switching to cheap labor abroad.

Trump and his family have also personally benefited from a relationship with China — during the Trump administration. The Chinese government granted 18 trademarks to companies linked to Trump and his daughter Ivanka in 2018, even as she was working as a White House adviser in her dad's administration.

Husband Jared Kushner's family also actively courted deals in China while he was working in the White House and touted green cards for investment cash in Kushner companies in a controversial program.

You can see the video below or at the link here: